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there is this talk about, well, let's look back to kosovo. operationegime change with how we can intervene some semblance of international backing, international law on our side, even if it is just cruise missiles to say enough is enough. a few attacks on military installations and it stops there. >> on the next "washington journal," we will see how businesses do the economy and there opportunity for investment. of kaiserancock health news continues our series on the health care law with a discussion on some employers are adjusting to the law while also trying to control healthcare costs. after that, a conversation on the latest air-traffic technology with the gerald
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billingham, director of civil aviation issues for the government accountability office. that plus your calls live on "washington journal," at 7 a.m. eastern here on c-span. >> we continue the discussion on foreign-policy in the middle east with with a look at al qaeda and its operations in this is from the foundation for defense of democracy. it is one hour and a half. >> i think we will get started. we have a full house. i am the president of the foundation for defense of democracies and i am pleased to welcome you to this discussion on al qaeda. we look forward to hearing from you i lay, the senior national security correspondent for "news -- "newsweek" and "the
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daily beast." and of course my calling, ms. sedin, senior fellow at journal. , most of your probably familiar with the organization. we would like to say that we start with as a polls and focus on research and policy and we try to achieve real progress. and those who are affiliated with sed in various capacities don't agree on everything. we like to have good solid debates. we do all the time around here. though we agree on some basic fundamental points. among them would be that nobody should be denied basic human rights, including freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly -- nobody should be discriminated on the basis of race or religion or .ender or creed free democratic nations have a right to defend themselves in an obligation to defend one another.
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and we think that terrorism, which should simply be defined as violence against civilians for clinical purposes, is always wrong and under north -- under no circumstances should it be condoned. over the past year or so, influential respected voices within the foreign policy and national security community have asserted that al qaeda is oneated, is on the path, is its heels, has been decimated. those assertions have been called into question a number of times. recently are assertions of al qaeda's defeat and demise were called into question by the u.s. government's decision to close 22 diplomatic facilities in 17 different countries across north africa and the middle east and parts of asia. the land they can his colleague josh rogan shed a bit more light
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on the situation when they reported that the reason for the closure was intercepted communications among more than 20 al qaeda operatives in in far-flung locations. the report noted that this conversation, this communication was invariably lead by al included innd also the conversation the head of al qaeda in the arabian peninsula and was recently named al qaeda's general manager. our guests have followed these issues closely and independently confirmed in leisure poor. what does this tell us about the state of al qaeda today, both its periphery and its course. i will start by asking you lie to grapple with the question for just a few minutes and then i
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will moderate this prerogative and let u.s. questions as well. so thank you again, eli, for being here. >> think is a mature having me. speak, thereas we will be new stories on the communication -- i can say that i can give more details about what exactly happened here. summer, yemeni authorities, along with u.s. authorities, were able to apprehend a carrier from al qaeda as he was uploading minutes to what appeared to be a .ery important business meeting when he was identified from the communication, the u.s. a sickly discovered a treasure trove which a recording of a seven-our
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remote internet conference. this included video, voice as well as chat. that wed with a message reported that he basically said that the assessment strategically is that the united states is in a similar position as the soviet union in 1989 and it is important for jihadist to take advantage of this. then he announced a big promotion for the head of al qaeda in the arabian peninsula and the yemen affiliate of al qaeda. from that seven-art -- he then pretty much disappears and comes back at various points. there is some debate in the intelligence community whether he was participating directly or giving us video in real time as he was monitoring it remotely. certainly, most of what we understand about the internet and communication security is
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that they would not be online in this kind of direct communication. however, this is a debate within the u.s. -- within the intelligence community. at the end, it was suggested that he was indeed in the conversation. that ourlso point out sources have made it clear that theg when they knew that medications were reported, it was enough information for al qaeda to do what they call walk back the cat did we left out some details from our initial report and we reported more than. we believe the sources were giving us this information and it was an important story to help explain the context of the threat. point, i think it is a tough one.
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you can't argue with the fact that u.s. special operations forces in 2011 found osama bin laden and killed him. that was a huge blow to the organization. but i would point out, in the years leading up to that, there were a lot of analysts who believed that modern was out of touch and was a figurehead and did not play a day-to-day role. in an organization that had evolved more into affiliates. one of the stories are remember writing after that raid was that bin laden played a very important role in managing this organization that had all of these various affiliate and aspiring affiliates. and i think we are in the same situation now where there's no doubt about it that al qaeda has lost a lot of senior leaders in pakistan because of a very lethal thrown more. andver, they have adapted he has shown the ability to manage and delegate. in that respect, at least we shutdown all of these embassies
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and with sun alerts being significant, i think that shows that, while there have been victories, at least the threat about qaeda is far from over at this point. am eager to you,, tom. hawaii to elaborate a bit on the concept of the score. to aska that -- i want you to elaborate a bit on the concept of this core. this notion that there is just little periphery satellite organizations, that has been called into question, too. able to remainen fairly robust, fairly in control and fairly powerful. that is in addition to the periphery. and perhaps address a little bit as well how it is that so many very smart people have been so
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wrong on these issues. >> if you unleash your sick today, i am to blame. i am under the weather so i want thepologize in advance to perils of having a three-year- old and a one-year-old who attract all the viruses in new york. the core and affiliates distinction, the whole idea is something we have been knocking down for months before the embassy closures. i testified before congress that this is not something that has been well defined and the idea of al qaeda's core is 90 been well defined. referring to the overall al qaeda leader and the advisory councils and advisory lieutenants who are immediately around pakistan and afghanistan. you know that al qaeda is not so
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stupid as to keep them all around. they will disperse their assets and they have been doing this for a long time. lo and behold, he is referring to the manager position in al qaeda, which is clearly a core function.
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he is not in afghanistan and pakistan. he is in yemen, and he is the general manager of the organization. when you look at that position and what that does, that is a very important position in al qaeda. somebody who has, according to the few documents we have seen declassified, has a very important role in managing international operations. he is doing that from yemen. as to why so many people got it wrong -- i think that when you look back at the post 9/11 world, going back to the bush administration, assessments consistently get it wrong in terms of understanding al qaeda. a big reason for that is, we define it pretty narrowly as a terrorist threat against us, the west. that is principally what we are concerned about, although that is not their strategic goal. attacking the west is sort of a tactic in their broader game. when you look at their literature, their leadership throughout time, they define themselves as political revolutionaries. they want political power for themselves in the greater middle east. at times, it looks absurd. you look at the chessboard of what is going on. other times, they have more success than we credit them for. that is principally what they
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are doing. we would argue that at this point in history they have made remarkable gains that way. on september 11, 2001, al qaeda did not have a small army in syria. they do today. they did not have to have france intervene in mali. al qaeda in iraq did not have a thriving islamic state. they do today. it is challenging again the iraqi government, and spreading. you can go on and on like this. in yemen, they challenged for territory and control parts of southern yemen. in somalia, they have an established affiliate which they did not have on 9/11. when you look at the broader picture and the political game al qaeda is playing, it is a cohesive international challenge. it is not something we can just connect the dots with, and save this group is not al qaeda, and this group is not al qaeda, when they are clearly loyal and advancing and writing for al qaeda strategic goals. basically, when you ask why it is that i think so many analysts have gotten it wrong over time, it is because the focus is narrowly on this idea of a group of super terrorists in pakistan, playing these plots against us.
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and if they are not part of that, they are not furthering al qaeda objectives. everything we have seen says that is wrong. you can see that most of al qaeda's assets through the years have been devoted to other things. >> a few questions. i will start with this. recently on wolf blitzer's show with peter bergen -- he has continued to maintain that al qaeda is defeated or severely diminished. in support of that argument, he would say on 9/11, 3000 americans were killed. they have not done anything like that again. they cannot do anything like that again. therefore, they are not the organization they once were and my thesis remains correct. do you want to address that? >> to his credit, you are seeing his views evolve. he basically defined al qaeda the way i just did, which is that the principal strategic goal was playing to established islamic states elsewhere.
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if that is the principal strategic goal, and it is indisputable they have made further gains than at any time in their history. it is true. if you think about the massive amount of effort that has been spent to try to disrupt their plots against us, the massive amount of controversial efforts across the board, not just in the united states, but with our european allies -- a massive amount of pressure. if you think about it, their inability to carry out something like that again -- that is because we have raised our defenses, often clumsily, but
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hundred or 2000. it is confusing about the current relationship with the muslim brotherhood. organizations and the various al qaeda groups. >> when al nasser -- that was the end of the more radical version of the muslim
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brotherhood in a lot of ways. the muslim brotherhood that emerged after word was very accommodating with the state. they were allowed to organize openly in universities. the muslim brotherhood became a big part of the fabric of civil society. when i lived in egypt in 2005, 2006, a big story was that a muslim brotherhood member was, for the first time, president of the american university in cairo. they were in charge of the medical association. the association of newspaper journalists. this is an important distinction. islamists like the muslim brotherhood believes that over time they can accomplish the goal of having an islamic republic are participating directly in politics, and issuing terroristic violence. for this, they were scorned by the egyptian islamic jihad,
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groups responsible for the attacks, and later by al- zawahiri. there is a famous exchange of someone in egyptian jail, who eventually recanted a lot of support for terror. there is a famous line of al- zawahiri responding that the fax machine you used has the same parent as the machine used to electrocute you when you were tortured. there is a long-standing disagreement between the al qaeda side and the muslim brotherhood side. looking at the events as they transpire, and i do not have any special insight into what happens next, one could argue, from the perspective -- you won on election. you eschewed violence. you were disciplined all these years. the military still removed you from power and is still making
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martyrs of your followers. perhaps i could be a very instructive lesson. we are the more revolutionary path. the events in egypt, the military coup, runs the risk of driving the muslim brotherhood back to where they were in the middle of the 20th century, an underground organization capable of terrorism. in potentially bolstering the more ideological ranks of the al qaeda side of that debate. >> this is like a whole other panel. the answer varies country to country. you could find the muslim brotherhood are accommodating of thejihadis. in others, they are against them. it is a complex topic.
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i think the bottom-line is -- you mentioned mohammed al- zawahiri, the brother. he criticized this version of sharia law. he was harsh and critical of the brotherhood. at other times, he did not want to side against the brotherhood with the military. >> the al qaeda style of participating in elections. >> unfortunately, i saw it as, they were smart enough to play the tactical game. >> it is dangerous to draw very broad conclusions. the simple conclusion -- you have made this in your writing for a long time. the alliances and the rivalries are much more fluid than we would think.
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there is a lot less sentimentality engaged in it. >> there is bad blood. i have talked to them. there is a sense from the illegal islamist parties -- the muslim brotherhood not only were sellouts. they were collaborationist. they talk about cooperation between egyptian authorities and the muslim brotherhood's. the more radical groups, when there were terror threats -- >> i will ask one or two questions, and then go to you. signal me if you want to ask a question. someone will come by with a microphone. >> it is interesting. there is a whole history. there was a book with very negative things said about the brotherhood. it is interesting to track his rhetoric over time. last year, he released a video, basically saying al qaeda can coexist with the muslim brotherhood. according to my sources, he was reading excerpts from osama bin laden's diaries.
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the was disagreement over how to conduct a hot in afghanistan between the brotherhood, which was sponsoring its own troops in the region, and al qaeda. he is critical of their participation in elections and those sort of things. the point is, osama bin laden -- one document is interesting, written the week before he was killed. bin laden talks about -- he was reiterating, saying the world is going our way. he saw a lot of hope of people attacking their way across the arab spring world. that has been discounted wrongly numerous times by american analysts. >> is it wrong to say -- there was a discussion of the muslim brotherhood issuing violence. that suggests they find violence repugnant. as opposed to strategically, they do not see it as useful.
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has there been that confusion in the intelligence community? because you are not participating in violence today, it means you have renounced it as principal? >> they renounced violence inside egypt after getting their heads kicked in. they did not renounce violence through hamas, which is a movement the brotherhood spawned tom a with a suicide bombing campaign in the 1990's. we see violence against american soldiers. you can go through a whole list. there are brotherhood figures in yemen, for example. there are big supporters of al qaeda. a leader in sudan was a big supporter of al qaeda, and a muslim brother. >> the movement does not renounce violence against infidels. >> the sheik on al jazeera arabic does not renounce
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violence. >> it is significant that you have to take into account the muslim brotherhood in egypt in the later part of the 20th century. it is an important distinction. most of the 20th century, they were a major violent threat. >> let me drill down on this a little bit. we talk about the egyptian muslim brotherhood renouncing violence. what we have just seen, it seems to me -- "the new york times" ran an op-ed talking about the peaceful protesters. there were others who were carrying machine guns, automatic weapons, burning churches, humiliating nuns. that does not fit the definition of peaceful. >> i am trying to unwind all those reports. the problem is, there is so much i mean, there is so much incentive to blame various groups at this point. it is tough to tell what really
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is at this point. it is just a bloody mess. >> on the conference call, for want of a better word -- two things. was it high-tech? is this something where you say there was an i.t. guy that came in? was it sophisticated? >> the i.t. guy is a son-in-law. he is in charge of the technical committee in al qaeda. they have engineers. they have their own encryption software. they have proprietary technology that allows them to have these kinds of remote conferences that allow for video. it is pretty amazing stuff. it is advanced. they also have an intranet.
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these kinds of remote the global islamic media -- they also have other sites. that allow people to kind of communicate with the mother ship in certain respects. they are constantly aware of internet security. no one is allowed to use any kind of broadcasting. a constant cat and mouse game. they have been doing some pretty impressive technology, from what i have heard. >> yes. he mentioned a new peas is up right now. read that to understand better how the situation evolved. when eli and jock just josh -- josh, that is not the way they do things. we heard the same thing quickly that this was complicated, high- tech, and i understand how --
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why they use that phrase, but, you can look at other reporting and tell the most important point out of all of this, in touch with not just one guy, but a couple dozen or so senior al qaeda operatives. it is not someone disassociated, but someone very much involved. >> utilizing this, were there any groups on there that surprised you or any groups we should think about that we have not been? >> there is a collection we have written about and you have written about for a while, that i think are significant. they are not formerly considered affiliates.
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>> for one thing i would say about that is they have a process for who is formally affiliated in who is not. groups like shabbat in somalia accepted by al qaeda before the coming-out party. there is is a whole game they play in terms of who they recognize publicly. >> are there differences in sophistication among groups? where they were on the globe, to. are there differences? >> there are disagreements voiced among the different groups in terms of where they should and shouldn't be. >> affiliates disagree with the core, al qaeda and iraq. he leads a -- an incredibly sadistic and violent campaign against civilians.
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the personal secretary of bin laden, he -- [indiscernible] he appealed -- appears as a loose cannon. it does not mean there is unanimity there. i think it shows there are protocols, not just in terms of communication. there is protocol when you establish a new kind of rant, what committees you have, how you should look at enforcing islamic law and punish people. all stuff that is basically out there. >> some people say that is the franchise model where you have construction and then you go ahead and do it yourself or it it is a vague organization and
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is ill managed by a sure counsel. >> i am happy to go to questions here. there is a question in the back. if you would wait for the microphone, and then identify yours elf. >> the senate foreign relations committee. i would like to hear more from you guys. his legacy, we are looking 10 years in advance. we he a little bit of a shift back. it shifts more when osama bin laden took over in 9/11. they can together and shared the same ideology area are we seeing a shift, [indiscernible]
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a little bit about technology, are we going to see more about cyber wars that will try to develop? >> we have seen a shift in how the fed operates in different countries. the mistake is to say that is not part of their global design. let me give you a case in point in yemen. a political platform was instituted. basically, this was the attempt to try to rebrand themselves and say, we can provide governance in basic service to you and basically adopting parts of the has law and green and set -- ourselves in the community. the associated press came out recently talking about all this and the prime focus was how to build a skate in yemen.
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as he is doing that and he is evolving politically, trying to figure out a new way forward for his organization. they are concerned -- concurrent with that. one of the key affiliates -- they are basically able to walk and chew gum at the same time. if you look country by country, even with the front and i'll -- in syria, the groups in north africa, you can see more of this where they are trying to provide basic levels of services and provide themselves as an alternative model to the existent government. >> among al qaeda experts and analysts i spoke with at the time, you saw hard-core groups that were clearly in sympathy with al qaeda's larger ideology. as i said earlier, i think their
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participation in those politics coming to an end before our eyes. we see various arrests. i would imagine this could lead to a reassessment. according to this latest information the u.s. government is receiving, i do not think it will dial back the terrorism side of things. i think walking and chewing gum at the same time. >>. other questions here? if you would like, have you asked questions. we have been tough on the community. give credit where credit is due. the 9/11 committee was pretty good on these things and four
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saw a lot of what is happening. describe that and give credit? >> yes. there are good pages, we are acting now today like the affiliates are something the al qaeda stumbled upon. that they just happened upon this. not all the affiliates were pre- paned -- pre-planned. however, it has been a long part of the strategy going back to the late teen 90's, to basically so their seeds in these other nations. very good language about how bin laden saw himself and al qaeda in the role. he was going to leave -- lead-in islamic army and there were all groups that would basically spread al qaeda's ideology platform and operational ties across a huge array of companies. i had a list in my congressional record company.
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all these countries were identified. it is staggering. from north africa all the way through to the middle east. some of the groups, some -- it is part of a long-term plan they had for establishing the presence in these nations. that waxed and waned and it had its ups and downs but it is something they thought about for a long time. it goes to the heart of the al qaeda core. a firm line between the core and these affiliates. i think that is not true. >> i would also stress organizations like al qaeda, they are very alarmed by the threat and they understand there are other elements that do not have operational control. there are a lot of times where it depends on what the white
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house at any even moment thinks of these. you rarely get any ink reaching a kind of across-the-board consensus worth anything. it is one of my personal things national intelligence estimates are largely worthless. it dumbs down everything to the pretty obvious,, and like things that do not tell us anything. in the world of intelligence analysis, there are people who assign percentages to what they think will happen. there are usually vigorous disagreements. >> the first thing on that is absolutely right. al qaeda does not have a bunch of automatons. they have personalities, conflicts, and there are sorts all sorts of commanders. it does not take away from what i think overall achievements. ultra -- al qaeda's organizations have significant dissents. even on 9/11.
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that is the type of level of organization. there is a large degree of coordination and cohesiveness on the whole threat. it does not mean they are automatons toured >> right. what i was saying is that at the end of the day, there is a narrative that is often oversimplified that will be embraced by the president and his top national security advisers and members of congress and aced on that understanding, the narrative of what we do and do not face, how serious it is, and whether it is motivated by religion, ambition, grievances, on that basis, policies in response are formulated.
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if it is a misunderstanding of the situation, chances are, the policies will be flawed as well. >> what we have seen with obama, this is the line i came up with, i think president obama acts like an executive. he has really pushed a lot of the war and expanded a lot of the global war on terror that has done it through secret operations. a little bit under a year and a half, and it is a notification to congress, yes, we are doing counterterrorism activity. and then nothing else. these are complicated partnerships and almost secret wars conducted entirely at the classification level. obama has done a lot of that and does not really talk about it erie it he has chosen to wage war in secret.
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the thing about doing these things under so much secrecy is that, just as you can expand, you can also take it away and not have much of a debate, either. a lot of trust right now in the executive ranch, and maybe there has to be. i am not saying i know the answer here. the way that obama has approached this is he has done quite a bit in a lot of these places, including somalia. he has made it appear the war is winding down. the question is, will that translates into winding down secret operations he has continued? >> what you are saying is true, however, i would say it
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differently. he is doing this in a counterterrorism paradigm. the big debate. , counterterrorism versus counterterrorism. what happened was, obama has gone back and forth. he said, we will invest more in afghanistan, but only for 18 months, and who knows what will happen after that? there has been a large buildup in putting our chips in the counterterrorism bucket. i can point to where the mistakes were in the bush administration, too. the problem i have is if you look at the history of iraq, you can see where this has failed. go back to 2010. see the -- senior generals, and you say, we have wiped them out.
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two thirds of our leaders are gone. what happens? a year later, u.s. forces pull out of iraq. what happens, a larger affiliate in serious bond. now challenging for territory, controlling parts of syria, from early 2012 to october 2012, has basically exploded in violence. by the pure counterterrorism model, you can say, we have got all these leaders, but what happened? they were able to regenerate because they were thinking in terms of the top-down hierarchy and knock off the top of it. that is my big fear, that we are now going back to a pure model that does not work. it gets confiscated from there about how you actually do this. i do not know what the answer
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is. all of these partnerships, and it is incredibly complicated. i do not claim to know everything. my note of hesitation on all of this is, we have seen tactics for and they have failed before and that is why am i -- i am worried. >> i do not know. i do not know -- i do not have a clear opinion. counterinsurgency requires a lot of people on the ground and a lot of attention. does the united states have the will, the resources, to do the kinds of counterinsurgency operations? at this point, politically, my sense is the answer is no. i do not know if it is a real option. >> there are two separates
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subjects. one is to say, whether or not you understand what is going on in iraq tom but you understand it is not a war that can go down, remain there for sometime if you want to establish and prevent the rebirth of al qaeda and iraq. once you decide we do not want al qaeda to reemerge, then the question is, what do we do about it? the first thing is to understand there will be a threat there if we leave. our weird -- are we ok with that? that is what the understanding of the situation is vital to the formulation of policy. >> there should be a fibrin debate about how to address all of these things. i do not have all the answers. there is not a large appetite. our enemy gets to stay in the fight. they are defining how they want to move forward.
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if we keep defining them narrowly as terrorist's, we will pick off commanders here and there. they are not just terrorists. multiple assets are put into acquiring that around the world. >> their political ideology, i think is largely rejected by most people in the muslim world. the evidence of this, i am very skeptical of polls in the middle east. the evidence of this is they have to have violent thugs enforcing lunatic sharia law in the area they have taken over. if this were a popular idea, they reflect what the craun wishes, stuff they were doing in iraq, then, they would not need to cut off the hands. >> i think that mistakes -- part of the reason i defined this
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way, here is the thing. if there is such an automatic rejection, why were they able to take over two thirds of somalia so they still did it. they control parts of libya right now. they took over large portions of yemen. the u.n. report that came out in july said there is still control. yes, they are not the most popular brand in the full muslim world, and there is a huge potential problem for them, absolutely. despite that, they are still able to keep coming forward and that is the problem. >> i do not think they can deal with the modern world.
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if they can do it in a remote area -- >> we will see. [indiscernible] >> center for american progress. how do you see out qaeda and its affiliates in iran over the last 10 years? iraq, syria, in opposition to it, in sudan, maybe something different. how do you see a ran looking at this? we often discuss it from the u.s. perspective, as we should, but it is complicated. i want to hear your thoughts. >> that is a good question.
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the other question is how iran is looking upon all of this and though rivalry and collaboration. >> a couple data points. al qaeda leaders fled to pakistan from afghanistan after 9/11. some led to iran. sam -- including family members. i believe the arrangement was something like a medieval hostage. iran, ideas that i do not think, will collaborate in a strategic level the way they do in syria with iran. having the leverage they did, i think it was an insurance policy provoking other sunnis in iran in these kinds of debates. in the 1990's, there were the taliban murdered diplomats and it was a pretty big deal. i ran after 9/11 did cooperate at times although they did other stuff, too, within afghanistan after 9/11. that said, you can also see there are two rival cartels or rival mafias. they have an interest in making sure the f b i is weak.
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it is possible they could be competitors, which they certainly are. theologically very different. al qaeda considers shiism to be very much a deviation of the true faith. that said, they have and can cooperate when they have an advantage of doing so. there were some degrees of cooperation for example in iran. >> this is another one of those questions that could use a home other panel to discuss. right now, serious is a huge disagreement between the two. a major problem, a bigger wedge between the two. you see coming out of al qaeda's leaders, and t islamic rhetoric coming out of syria.
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the one thing i have marveled that since the early 1990's is how many times iran has managed to put aside their differences without qaeda. al qaeda never wanted to be controlled by any state. they are a revolutionary force. however, iran has managed to work with them in a variety of ways going back to the 1990's. one of the interesting things to come out of the obama administration state departments are a series of designations and other public pronouncements about the actual deal or agreement in iran today. go back to july 2011 and highlight the secret deal between iran and al qaeda. in december 2011, they issued a $10 million reward. in february, 2012, they came out with a designation of ministry, saying they had been served -- providing support to al qaeda. in october 2012, another comes out in the obama administration.
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there is a network in iran led by one of the guys who actually had for my lunch -- foreknowledge of 9/11. it is one of the things you joke about when you see the differences between them, and i do not have time to get into it today, but there is a whole history here between the two. it is really fascinating to explore. >> take the mic son and introduce yourself. >> to follow-up on your iranian question, if we see fighting iranian proxies in syria, at what point will we witness the strategic, long-term conflict between the sunni extremist and the iranians, or the satellite
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throughout the region? the second question, the winter olympics, and the statement by the head of the caucuses, that it is a fair target, and also recalling his earlier commitment not to attack civilians in the russian territory. he stated his allegiance of support of al qaeda many times. it is very much along the lines to what extent do you see al qaeda -- their resources? >> do you want me to go? >> i do not know.
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[laughter] they targeted the olympics before. they had to flag somebody who they thought may have been planning terrorist attacks. there is always tension for these big public events. it is interesting. i have tracked some of the rhetoric. from others who were there calling for attacks for shiite controlled states following what was going on in syria. you see the rhetoric. there are parties which to me look like they may be in the al
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qaeda sphere. to go back to how the relationships evolve, it is fascinating to watch how in 1988, the taliban slaughtered, and yet they came to a deal before 9/11. dispatched to cut a deal with those who will cooperate. those types of things happen. these guys are willing to put aside the deep animosity and hatred, and the big problem i have is we do not know when it will tip. it could be they have disagreements in one third but agreements in the other two thirds, but we do not know. >> other questions up here? >> you cannot run any kind of affiliation [indiscernible]
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to what extent does the al qaeda core arrange for funding? >> it is reversed. you have to kick up the tribute if you are a -- an affiliate. [indiscernible] drug trafficking from afghanistan. there are criminal organizations and may have way of making money when the state is weak. >> yes. the taliban does not sequester. >> exactly. it changes from area to area how they operate. kidnappings to drug dealings, trafficking cigarettes, he who launched the attack in january on the oil facility. the commander connected to benghazi, he was the guy known as mr. marlboro.
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>> the most divided force is an al qaeda affiliated force. there are two. they are in fairly vigorous competition. tell me how that plays out. >> there are leadership disagreements that circle down between the ranks. one of the interesting things, again, our model of al qaeda, these types of rivalries do occur. this was an intense one. it manifests it self in many new ways. however, when you look operationally, there are differences, but they still managed to play on the same side against common enemies. it is not something when they
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have yet turned the gun on each other. >> how does the muslim brotherhood relate to al qaeda forces in syria? >> at the operational level, i do not know. part of the big fear in the syrian muslim brotherhood is an organization some of the leaders who returned to syria have been known to have ties to al qaeda. they have evolved. if you look at the leadership for 9/11, or the leadership of al qaeda in spain, all were once syrian brothers. i am not saying all the syrian muslim brotherhood is, but i do not know today. >> there are real divisions.
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>> i do not have the ability to comment. >> any final questions from any of you? if not, i will ask you to think about what we should've talked about, should have asked, in your last few minutes here. >> i am an intern. my question is about the resolution, 2001.
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>> the use of military force. >> that gave the president broader use of force, individuals, individuals who planned 9/11. so, from then on, and for the last more than a decade, this has been used. it is now the time to reveal this joint resolution? >> i read about this for a recent magazine a few years back. my view is that there is a risk the war on terror could become permanent if you never revisit the question of what the
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extraordinary powers we want the government to use to fight terrorism. i am under the view it as a fairly long war. it is not like they invented these threats and they like having global war. i am not trying to dodge the question. i think it is a good question. the courts have ruled over the years that the original would apply for affiliated al qaeda groups. i am sure it was expanded in one of the recent bills the president signed into thousand 11 and 2012 to include some of the groups that various courts have rolled because of what could be counted under that resolution. listen. there is a huge problem, not to get too far off topic, when you look at what has been problematic about the recent nsa disclosures we have been learning about, if you do not have members of congress, american people, knowing about what the government is doing, then, you do risk the sense this will be the kind of permanent war that will never end and you will never be able to grapple and that will create a bureaucracy.
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if you were to say we should repeal that, then you would effectively be saying, you do not think there is currently a war. the enemy gets a vote. they are voting they are still in war with us. that is where i am at. >> let me throw into the discussion i am sure president obama discussed, before the diplomatic outpost closing, that the author -- authorizations for the use of military force, they should consider repealing it. the idea of rebuilding it would be based on the narrative the war is winding down and al qaeda is being defeated. if we agree that is incorrect, then we also agree you need some kind of authorization for the u.s. to fight that war. >> that is right.
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it is one of the things that can and should be properly debated. what authority we want to give the president and the executive branch, for sure. the big argument i have seen out there is the idea -- i think the president's rhetoric in the regard is not helpful, the idea that the organization that attacked us on 9/11 is defeated and therefore the logical implication of that is, it is based on the reaction to 9/11, and therefore, we do not need the a you mf. that is not consistent with the real threat environment. what we have seen, yes, they have not been successful. back in 2009, there was a serious plot against new york city subways launched by al qaeda that did not involve specific actors involved in 9/11, but it was al qaeda.
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go back to may 2010, december 2009 where they try to blow up a plane and in 2010, they tried to detonate bombs. the point is, the current stream you see is not something narrowly defined as a few actors in pakistan we need. you can see it's manifesting itself in different ways. >> we are back there. >> graduate student, american university. you just mentioned the success of the drum programming targeting al qaeda. given the president's recent statement about the drone program, can you talk about the prudence of signature strikes? >> let me know about signature strikes is that they are imprecise. you do not know a person will be there and usually, you never
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have exact intelligence. there is something very disturbing about the u.s., the idea that for the foreseeable future, the united states would have drones over the countries and we will occasionally do these sorts of things. when the technology was really developed in the last decade, and the targeting was developed, the ability to pinpoint, in nanoseconds, various kinds of targets, it really did turn the tide of war in iraq. it was very significant. i do not think we had much of a conversation about what it means to do that. what does it mean if we do it for 20 years? eventually, are there other implications of having a permanent drone presence in pakistan that would make -- potentially radicalize others?
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i usually avoid that analysis because the radicalization process is detailed and to become a suicide bomber terrorist, is not because they watched a television show. it certainly creates an environment where we have a political environment in pakistan right now that hate the united states. that is significant about whether or not they will allow their armed services to cooperate or whether they will really actually be on al qaeda's side because they have more sympathy with the islamists. >> do you think there are elements of the intelligence and military bureaucracy? >> pakistan, never. [laughter] >> the only thing i would say is if you saw in june, the commission report was leaked.
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i thought the report was fascinating. what they basically said was, and this is in pakistan, two weeks before he was going to write for us, he was kidnapped and tortured to death for asking these questions, he was a shady character and a complicated guy, but somebody who had ties to these folks. a very dangerous environment to ask the questions. but they did ask the questions. they said, "we cannot answer them. however, there is this whole coulter in pakistan where all the jihadist groups that were either created or founded or sponsored by military intelligence, on the one hand, also have ties and relationships to al qaeda on the other.
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this makes it very easy to have these senior figures hiding in various different areas. it becomes a large topic about who knows what. >> in the 1980's, the united states and the cia helped build up the isi military intelligence in pakistan in order to be a pipeline for other fighters against the soviet union in afghanistan. a lot of cia veterans still believe guys in charge at the time were american allies. it has been shown many of those people took al qaeda's side in the current situation more than 30 years later. so, the u.s., in the last decade, be in creating an element that was supposed to be the guys that would really be on our side. these things have a history.
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i just think, it is almost inevitable, when you do something, in the case of the afghanistan war, an important part of the soviet union, there were implications of that down the line. the u.s. helped, and certainly pakistan as well and the military as well. not all on the u.s. in a lot of cases, i think these organizations, you do not i anybody in these parts of the world. you only rent them. >> in the network, about to be
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loyal outcries, there was a great recent book that came out, the nexus of global jihad, or like that, i forget the exact title. there was a really good book which talks about the fact that they worked at a time where there was a conduit for american and other allied support for soviets, very explicitly in the region, physically endorsing the message bin laden would be so famous for carrying forward. >> a microphone to you right away. >> thank you. homeland security committee. i wanted to get clarification on the question of the administration's narrative. i am hearing you say, it is actress of the policy that follows is also accurate. what i -- i am also hearing you say the narrative does not necessarily match what is going on in terms of conducting the secret wars. the clarification i am looking for is -- do you think we have two separate narratives? one for the general public that is leading us to believe things are winding down and we have made significant progress, and
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then one toward the administration itself, the real story, or do you think -- it just seems there is a disconnect and i was wondering if you would address that. >> there is a disconnect. it is not exact. they have also moderated -- moderated what they say. there was a time where they did not acknowledge the peninsula as a serious threat. then, after the christmas day armor, they realized it was a major problem.
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then you hear rhetoric and things were done secretly. it is not always necessarily done a clean point. i would say generally, they claim political credit. killing bin laden is a major victory. i do not want to say that is insignificant. but they also say, jay carney will say, we think al qaeda is decimated. there is this way -- i think that it is easy to expand the secret war and it is also easy to wind down a secret work. much easier if you had more input from congress and it was a more open and public debate. >> my main concern is that they may believe the public narrative, the, obama's national security defense speech in may. i am worried about that because that is how you get caught flat- footed. you believe things are winding down and ending. after the fat, you respond after he becomes a threat to the u.s. homeland. beforehand, they were a threat. you should be able to see that before hand. it is the tactical running around. that -- the main problem i have with that is you stop communicating to the american people what the ideological challenge is for us and what the
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terror network really looks like and what they are doing to build support to do whatever we need to do in long-term. that is my main fear. >> i will make one point that may be useful. in 1943, roosevelt and churchill got together. they can see they would defeat the german, japanese, and italian militaries. they made a decision clearly that they would not try to defeat or destroy the populations of germany, japan, or italy. what they decided they needed to do was to destroy and to feed the philosophy is, which would call ideology today, that had animated -- that were responsible for world war ii. when we talk about violent extremism, and we do not grapple
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with the ideologies behind the regime and the movements and groups attacking the west, we are not taking up the task, discredits -- legitimizing the ideologies. we went and continued long after the were to delegitimize and discredit the ideologies that remained in japan for a very long time. and some would say went too far to the point where very few university students nowadays
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study fascist ideology to tell you what a fascist ideology is. they might know communism but they probably would not know fascism. by speaking about extremism as if it were a rational, rather than a very coherent ideology that aims the conquest and subjugation of people, [indiscernible] >> here is how i look at it. at one point, president bush came out and said we have killed or captured three quarters of a qaeda leaders. the implication was, we have really got them on their heels and they are almost done. two years later, president obama says we have killed or captured three quarters of al qaeda senior leaders. we are still talking about al qaeda and the threat. it isn't is defined. -- misdefined. we never really properly defined the scope of their ideologies in the first place. a lot of reasons for that. if you do not define it correctly, we can have disagreements about how to counter it. i think you are leaving yourself last -- flat-footed unless you properly define it.
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>> ok, a question back there. let's go back there. >> thank you. >> i had a question. should there be some sort of investigation or something similar to find the relationship between the muslim motherhood and al qaeda, that i reported on fox news last week, that egyptian security forces, and now, the name of the assassin, ambassador chris stevenson, and it is deathly worth an investigation. and the possibility of a serious connection between the muslim brotherhood and al qaeda. almost issued a video the past few weeks where he almost incited genocide against rigid
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shin and military and christians and infidels, but, at the same time, he announced his full support for the muslim brotherhood organization and he also stated that osama bin laden himself has been a member of the organization and he only left because of logistics issues regarding funding and embarrassment. there are numerous evidences. we also have evidence the dissertation, written in the 70's, he stated he was actually writing the theological foundations for al qaeda's organization. he was stating that the foundation for al qaeda's , henization, until this day
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has considered this virtual leader for the brotherhood and mohamed morsi trying to lead him. there is numerous evidence to a relationship. designatingity of the muslim brotherhood as an international terrorist organization should be out there. thank you. this is a large topic. he's not the spiritual guide or leader for the muslim brotherhood. president morsi expressed his that the blind shake would be free. that's not to dismiss the issue entirely. abouthould be careful
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evidence of exclusion. one of the first financiers was a very senior muslim brotherhood figure. by twoas a documentary newsweek journalists about the whole brotherhood and the continuum between the brotherhood and al qaeda. topic.very complex it is a very large, complex topic. we have got to look at what's happening in egypt right now. recently, there is a difference between a judge and muslim brotherhood and what they do and think and versus the al qaeda
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approach. we can talk about this distinction and say there are some commonalities at times between them in terms of political goals. but certainly not in terms of tactics. the brotherhood has been more accommodating of modernity. toosama bin laden referred the brotherhood as a half solution in one of the last letters he wrote. islamistt the newest regimes would not for new opportunities for -- offer new opportunities for al qaeda fossilization. there are differences between them, but commonalities. >> ok. >> systems analytics. i think that trying to tie the muslim brotherhood and al qaeda together is not a requisite for
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recognizing that the muslim brotherhood is a threat. the takeover of her the thenization manifested -- organization manifested with the election. there was evidence clearly at the battle of better. it was an unequivocal call to arms in my view. what are your thoughts? >> i'm much more pessimistic about the brotherhood and some folks in bc. i reviewed their -- in d.c. i reviewed their rhetoric. i don't find them to be a peaceful organization that has set aside violence. that is a tactical decision on their part. eli's general point about politics, we don't want to wash
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that away and get into a reductionist narrative that they are all sort of al qaeda when they are not. but to your point, that there is an independent analysis to be ton in terms of the brotherhood, what it is and what it is not, in terms right -- done of the brotherhood, what it is and what is not, should be right. >> there was a slogan in the algerian elections, one man, one state, one time. they believed there was potential for an islamist political takeover of their country, and it led to uncertainty in the rest of the 1990's that was very bloody. egypt, i'm not prepared to make judgments at this point. sayink it's very fair to that there was a clear effort by power, toonsolidate
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put his people in important security ministries, to railroad -- to push out any other dissent from the constitution writing process. --re are a series of morsi things that morsi did before the coup that were disturbing. there was a real danger that he would become the muslim mubarak. thecan say, al qaeda and muslim brotherhood are not the same. nevertheless, muslim brotherhood ideology is maybe not compatible with the open society. i'm not prepared to weigh in one way or the other. i'm leaning to the view that political islam is not compatible with the open society, even if the components would renounce terrorists. all you are saying here is,
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there is an analytical danger. make distinctions, and engage in the kind of wishful thinking that since they are distinct, there must be some that are not just pragmatic, but moderate. if they are moderate, we can engage with them. them, we engage with can have a reasonable relationship with them. none of that is necessarily true. you can understand the differences without believing you have an opportunity for constructive engagement and peaceful coexistence. >> there needs to be an assessment of the different groups. in tunisia, it is a small, fascinating country. you have an offshoot of the brotherhood, which has a standoff with an al qaeda-like
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group. every situation, you have to be careful. the underlying ideology is something that is antithetical to our values. questions? ask the twogoing to of you to hit any points that need to be made or stressed as a result of the conversation. i sit here in 2013. i've heard so many different versions of the, al qaeda is dead argument. you hear all these different versions of the al qaeda dead argument. if you keep coming back and hearing these argument, over
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time, there is something wrong with the argument. it keeps propping up. part of it is a 9/11 exposed a deep ignorance we have as a society of not only this organization, but it's ideology and everything related. there is still a pretty large gap in our understanding of all of this. , there are many ism.ims who reject al qaeda- have is that i don't believe in political determinism. i think history moves on a razor's edge and evolves in ways you do not expect. this organization and its ideology are revolutionaries. assetse putting their around the globe to fight and acquire political power. they are still very much in the game. when you talk about big picture
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strategy, it's true that not every al qaeda operative dispatched is immediately targeting us today. that doesn't mean there is not potential for them to target us tomorrow. one factor that has not come up is the u.s. has gotten a lot better at counterterrorism. i don't have an answer to this. i want to avoid having too many opinions as a journalist. we are living in a political where any major terrorist attack is politically unacceptable. the question for us in this room, and us as american it's kindis to say, of bleak to think that the u.s. will have to operate drones and shady partnerships in
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places like yemen. it is hard work. it is costly. would we be willing to accept a certain inevitability, as europeans in the 1970's expected that there will be terrorist attacks from time to time and it's not the end of the world? , she talkedtano about the idea of resilience. i'm not saying we should accept that as a reality, but it is something that will come up. on the one hand, everybody agrees if you say, would you accept another terrible mass casualty terrorist attack, of course everyone wants to prevent that. powerful nsats of and drone wars -- we are beginning to people say they don't like either.
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side thatere is a wants to talk about scaling back the war on terrorism, but should also talk about the idea that it is not a false choice to quote speech, between liberty and security. liberty versus security and the various trade-offs and how much terrorism and damage you are willing to accept would be a great other panel for us to have. i think sometimes we treat this conversation like we are children, and we want to believe that we can have everything. and we can't. like democracy, no terrorism, smaller government. you have to look at it in a real context. >> do you want to make a last comment?
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>> as somebody who is not a fan of big government, i share those worries. to my mind, i don't know enough of what is going on to give you a firm answer. i had this guttural reaction where, i don't want my data scooped up. there is something to be had there, a conversation to be had there. when you have that conversation -- some people are defining the current threat environment and how things are evolving around the globe with the impetus that they want to declare it over and wrap it up. in thinking,nger it's all over and i do want to deal with it anymore. >> we covered a lot of ground. but me ask you to thank our two toelists -- let me ask you
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thank our two panelists. thank you for coming. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] >> tomorrow, a discussion on race in america. president.
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luisratic representative gutierrez will be in chantilly, virginia for a town hall meeting to discuss immigration policy. the representative is among a group of seven bipartisan members in the house working on immigration legislation. the town hall gets underway at 1:00 p.m. eastern. >> our topic for the next hour, the future of the f 35 fighter jet program. the pentagon is planning on building over 2400 of the aircraft to be used by all branches of the u.s. military for a total estimated cost of $1.5 trillion. o'brien,s is steve vice president for program integration and business development. welcome to the program. let's begin with where you are at. what is the purpose of the demonstration center?

The Defense of Democracies
CSPAN August 25, 2013 2:45pm-4:16pm EDT


TOPIC FREQUENCY U.s. 17, Us 15, Pakistan 13, Al Qaeda 11, Yemen 9, Afghanistan 9, Syria 9, Iraq 8, United States 5, Egypt 5, Somalia 4, Zawahiri 3, Osama Bin 3, Qaeda 2, Soviet Union 2, North Africa 2, Iran 2, New York 2, Sudan 2, Bush 1
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